(Full report is a pdf file available here)


House of Commons

European Scrutiny Committee

20 ESC, 28th Report, 2003-04


56. Some of the Commission’s proposals for the next five-year justice and home affairs (JHA) work programme affect policies which are at the core of national sovereignty.

Moreover, we are particularly concerned by the following issues:

i. The omission from the Communication of an evaluation of the practical benefits achieved so far as a result of the Tampere programme.

ii. The omission of a statement of the practical benefits expected from the Commission’s proposals for the next five years.

iii. The Commission’s apparent wish to rely on qualified majority voting to secure the adoption of JHA legislation against the wishes of some Member States.

iv. The risk that the expression “an area of freedom, security and justice” is encouraging the notion that such an area is a unitary State separate from the Member States which make up the European Union and Community.

Our concern on this point is illustrated by the statement in the Commission’s document that “there will therefore be expectations and demands for ‘more Europe’, this being seen, in particular in the new Member States, as the only way of assuring European citizens of the level of security to which they legitimately aspire”.18

v. The further harmonization of asylum policy, going beyond the establishment of reasonable common minimum standards.

vi. The proposals for the creation of a European Public Prosecutor and a European Corps of Border Guards and to give Europol some investigative powers. We have not yet seen sufficient justification for giving the European Union its own prosecutor, border guards and police force.

vii. The extension of the Community’s activities into crime prevention. We question such an extension unless it can be shown to be fully consistent with the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality.

viii. The proper scope of measures in relation to civil and criminal justice. We believe that such measures should be strictly confined to those which are necessary for mutual recognition, and that such measures should not affect purely internal cases or otherwise encroach on the integrity of the legal systems of the Member States.

57. Accordingly, we recommend the Communication for debate on the Floor of the House. The debate needs to be held in good time for the Government to take account of the views of the House before the Communication is discussed at the JHA Council in October.

18 See para 15 above.